Sunday, May 29, 2011

Before She's Gone

by Leann

As some of you may know, one of my cats became very ill, very quickly. Not my on again off again diabetic cat, Agatha Christie. She is very healthy for the first time in a year and a half. Off insulin, but will probably be back on--that seems to be her pattern. But she's a whopping 7 pounds now and is even playing again.

Not so for my oldest cat, Indigo. She's a non-papered Himalayan, my boss cat, my beauty and almost 17 years old. She came into my life at six weeks of age when my second child went to college and I was feeling just how lonely that empty nest can be. How she saved me from feeling sorry for myself. I still missed my kids so much, but the laughter, the joy and the chance to take care of a kitten saved me from serious depression. That's what pets do--save us from ourselves.

She joined me in all my craft activities and loved making quilts the best. The Cats in Trouble mysteries would never have been written if not for her inspiration. When I was writing, she lay by the keyboard and purred, content to be near me. I loved when she stuck her head through the opening in the sewing machine the best--her cute little brown smudged face begging me to play. So we did. Often.

She came with attitude, though. When she was spayed, she became very angry when I brought her home, refused to eat or drink and made me believe she was seriously ill. On the weekend of course. Off to the emergency vet clinic we went and you all know how much that costs. After a thorough check, the vet told me there was really not much wrong with her. She was a little dehydrated and they took care of that. His official diagnosis? Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. Yup. That's what he told me. My instructions were to hold her, feed her with a bottle or syringe and the extra attention would bring her around. What a wise man. He was right.

I added two cats, both rescues, after her, but she always remained top cat. When the dog came along four years ago, she put her in her place, too. My labradoodle is scared to death of Indigo to this day.

But she hated whenever I went away and would always resort to her old sickness-Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. No eating, no drinking, just pouting (and tearing up every roll of toilet paper she could get her paws on.) Same thing happened when I took her to the vet. She wanted me to know vet visits were unacceptable. Thank goodness she was blessed with wonderful teeth. Not once has she needed her teeth cleaned.

Sadly, when I went away for a conference at the end of April, I returned to find her more thin than usual and very mopey. This was more than Pissed Off Cat Syndrome. Unfortunately my husband has been ill and needed surgery. This meant more time away from her. She has dropped weight dramatically and she and I both know she is dying. I could take her to the vet she hates, put her through a million tests, but in my heart, I know that will only prolong the inevitable. She wants to be here, with me. I wouldn't hesitate to take either of the other two cats, but not Indigo. This is how she wants it. So I give her sips of water, a little kitten milk, brush her, pet her and whisper that I understand. She will have it her way--as usual, as it should be.

But, God, I will miss her so.
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